Training to Reduce Non-contact Knee Injuries

by LaRue Cook |   Date Released : 08 Feb 2013
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LaRue Cook

About the author: LaRue Cook

LaRue Cook is a certified fitness professional with over 23-years hands-on training experience.  He holds his BS in Health Science, Masters in Healthcare Administration, and Juris Doctor degree. Additionally, LaRue holds the following certifications:

- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
- Certified Tennis Performance Specialist
- Certified Sports Performance and Injury Prevention Trainer
- Certified EXOS Performance Specialist
- Certified Titleist Performance Specialist
- Certified USA Track and Field Speed and Agility Trainer
- Certified Youth Conditioning Specialist

LaRue serves on the following Boards:
- Board of Examiners of the National Board of Fitness Examiners
- Board of the Florida High School Tennis Coaches Association

In 2016 LaRue was highlighted in a publication by the Exercise is Medicine Program ® (a worldwide initiative co-launched by the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine) as a Certified Fitness Professional who has successfully forged a working relationship with the medical profession.

LaRue has served as a Fitness Director, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Expert Advisor, Consultant and Trainer to some of the leading fitness and medical organizations in the country.  In addition to his work with PTontheNet, he has served as Contributing Expert to a number of health, fitness and sports publications and organizations including:
- the International Sports Sciences Association
- the National Strength and Conditioning Association
- the International Tennis Performance Association
- USA Basketball
- the Rhode Island Health and Fitness Magazine
- Tennis View Magazine
- Women’s Basketball Magazine
- iHoops and more.

In 2011, LaRue produced a short documentary film ‘We R Athletes’ which highlighted the many benefits, both physical and psychological, of strength and conditioning for female athletes, and how becoming physically strong enhances self-confidence both on the field of play and in the work world.
LaRue is a lifelong athlete who has competed in baseball, tennis, karate, track, wrestling, bowling and more. He currently competes in tournament tennis and has been ranked in the Top-10 Men’s 4.0 Singles tournament players by the United States Tennis Association, Mid-Atlantic Section for over 14 years.  In his spare time, LaRue serves as a film judge and as a volunteer to a number of charitable organizations.

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Comments (4)

De Veirman, Lieven | 13 Feb 2013, 08:42 AM

Not sure if we should teach our athletes to consciously avoid a valgus knee position. Pronation is the most natural movement and I would prefer teaching my athlete's muscles how to get into pronation/valgus, decelerate the movement and explode back to the other direction.

Cook, LaRue | 12 Feb 2013, 04:09 AM

Hi Brian. Thanks for your comment. I agree that “discovering a pattern of weakness” is a key element of developing an effective program here. One such weakness is (or can be) the strength ratio gap between the quads and posterior chain musculature – a weakness that has been shown to be a potential contributing factor to non-contact knee injuries in sports.
“Cleaning up movement patterns” (where such defective patterns exist) is necessary as well, and oftentimes one of the primary movement pattern defects in this area – improper deceleration - is related to this muscular imbalance. Learning proper deceleration technique is a key to reducing the risk of non-contact knee injuries in sports movement, and obtaining or maintaining the requisite strength to properly decelerate goes hand-in-hand with this technique. The article speaks of three components to the training program --- strength development, deceleration technique and kinesthetic awareness. Each of these components is an important part of the program, and forms an integral part of the whole. Thanks again for your comment and I hope that you found the article somewhat helpful.

Strachan, Gary | 11 Feb 2013, 01:57 AM

I think training for function may be the best place to start. Replicate all the possibilities of where the knee may go, and train at different tempos, ROMs, under load, no load, different drivers etc. And look for mobility or lack of to structure.

Thurston, Brian | 08 Feb 2013, 18:36 PM

My belief is that there seems to be a great value in discovering a pattern of weakness or tightness and then exploring how to improve this pattern of weakness or tightness. I think to say that targeting the glute medius as a stamped out program for all athletes may not be the best way to go. Additionally, hamstring strength (as co-contrators) may not be as important to preventing sheer on the tibia-femoral region as we think. By strengthening the hamstrings without first cleaning up movement patterns, we may be doing what Gray Cook calls "adding fitness to imbalance".

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